Thanks to a generous gift from my parents, Dan and I headed into Israel with a private tour guide and spent the night in Jerusalem at a swanky hotel. Thanks mom and dad!
|Our hotel room. Dan is in a legitimate zebra chair. It was hairy and everything.|
Ruins in Israel are often found in these trapezoid shaped mountains called a tel. They result from cities being built directly on top of the ruins of an older city. If you are so inclined, a (VERY LONG) book called The Source by James Michener, tells the story of a fictional tel and all the different conquering peoples that built a city on the same spot. The book was suggested reading when I went to Israel the first time in '00 with my middle school. It's excellent!
Below is a Roman public toilet, unearthed in the ruins. People sat on the stones sticking out of the wall, with waste falling between them into a water-filled channel that would carry the waste to the sewers. Not that I want to use one, but it's very advanced for the time!
The drive to the Dead Sea and then into Jerusalem took basically the whole day, so our tour guide dropped us at the hotel. Dan and I showered (wash the Dead Sea off!) and got dressed then went back out to explore Jerusalem.
It was really cold, but we wandered around for a bit and found a restaurant to eat at. Oh my gosh! This kosher meat restaurant had traditional middle eastern dishes with a fancy twist and it was SO GOOD. We got a big pita appetizer (with delicious dipping sauces including more absurdly good tahini!):
The next day we went into the old city of Jerusalem (inside the walls)
Then we visited the Western Wall, which is the outer retaining wall of the holy temple mount and is the most holy site in the world to Jews.
Dan and I each took a few minutes to pray at our respective holy sites. Later, I asked Dan what he prayed about. He said he prayed for our family (me, him, our future kids)... that's what I prayed for too! I wonder what God thinks of that? (I wonder what the mean old ladies of the world would think of that, too.)
|Our tour guide took us to some small local-favorite type shops for lunch and this delicious dessert of waffles with crazy toppings. Dan and I shared one, with a pile of whipped cream... So yummy!|